Numero Group: By The Numbers

Jon Kirby Goes Long on The Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love
October 16, 2015, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Edge Of Daybreak

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As a New York City transplant by way of North Carolina, I was conferring with my friend Harley as to what might be a advantageous stopping point between my hometown and my new town, where I could get out, stretch my legs, and possibly thumb through some records. This place should be near the highway, yet somewhat off the radar as to increase the likelihood of come ups. We settled on Carrington’s Music of Petersburg, VA about 30 minutes south of Richmond along Interstate 95. Elders from the record collecting universe had allegedly worked this place pretty hard through the ’90s and early aughts, but by my standards, it was still a decent place to find decent vinyl (at Petersburg prices, no less).

Of all of the records I bought from Carrington’s Music over the years (from Little Beaver’s Party Down to Three 6 Mafia’s When The Smoke Clears), there was one record who’s legacy seemed intrinsically linked with the shop: the Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love.

A quarter century earlier, before his namesake record shops and his Virginia Mass Choir, owner and proprietor James Carrington was the manager of a different group: The Edge Of Daybreak, comprised of fellow inmates at the Powhatan Correctional Center. First to mention it was Virginia native and Academy Records employee, Marty Key. Others followed. When I mentioned this LP to Carrington, he simply shrugged it off. Eyes Of Love wasn’t very good, or it was a long time ago, or it was a period in his life he wasn’t eager to revisit, or a combination of all three. Once I had an opportunity to hear the entire record, especially in the context of its origin story, I knew it would be a while before I forgot it.

Then in the Fall of 2011, I got a job here at The Numero Group, where the topic of rare and obscure and wonderful records is a common topic of discussion around the water cooler. With Carrington my only contact within the group, I continued to plead and reason with him that the musical document he created back at Powhatan was simply too important to leave in the past. Eventually, he conceded. And as news of the reissue reached more and more scattered band members, excitement grew within the long-defunct prison combo.

From there, things unfolded pretty quickly. Detective work turned up housing supervisors, graphic designers, recording engineers, former cellmates, television reporters, and all manners of folks who were peripherally related to this curious recording project. Everyone polled recalled the group, and all of them asked: “What ever happened to those guys?”

For anyone wanting to know what happened to those guys, they are encouraged to read the extensive liner notes that accompany the well-deserved reissue of this fabled rarity. If you happen to live a reasonable distance from Richmond, you could meet us at Steady Sounds (322 W. Broad Street) where myself and several members of the Edge Of Daybreak will gather Thursday, October 22nd to celebrate this record’s renaissance. I venture to guess that when Marty Key opened Steady Sounds some years back, it was not only his intention to connect the Capital City with decent records, but to host just such events—celebrating and preserving powerful relics of Virginia’s musical past. For me, it will be nice to be amongst friends, listening to such powerful music. Wether in person, mail-order, or mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar, we hope you will check out and subsequently enjoy The Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love. So much goes into making these records, but when we do them right, as I believe we’ve done here, everyone gets so much out of them. —Jon Kirby 

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